Marketing perceptions of the Drakensberger breed of cattle
The Drakensberger is a medium-framed black cattle breed indigenous to South Africa. The breed is concentrated mainly in Mpumalanga, the Eastern Free State and Kwazulu Natal. The breed fares well in key requirements for successful cattle farming. The North West Province and Northern Free State are some of the major cattle producing areas in South Africa. The Drakensberger does not enjoy a large market share in the region, at around 5-10%. The reasons for this lack of popularity of the breed are not evident. The study aims to establish why the breed in the region does not have the market share it seemingly deserves. Farmers are resistant to farm with the breed despite its good qualities. A literature review was performed to gain background on the cattle industry. Some breeds, their attributes and reasons for being successful, were explored. The Drakensberger was researched in detail, examining the breed’s potential. From literature it was evident that the breed has no fatal flaws and even outperforms certain breeds in some aspects. The current positioning of the breed in the market was described. A questionnaire was designed in order to determine which cattle breeds respondents prefer, why they prefer these breeds, what the sentiment of respondents in the region is towards the Drakensberger and reasons for the sentiments. A sample was selected and the questionnaires were completed through personal interviews. The areas covered were in the North West and Northern Free State. From the responses it was established that almost 50% of respondents farm with Bonsmara and Simmentaler breeds. The Drakensberger did not feature highly. It was found that farmers prefer the breeds due to hardiness, fertility, weaning weight and the colour of the breed. The Drakensberger is not a very popular breed and not well known. The main reasons for farmers not choosing the breed are based on a lack of information, perceptions that the black breed is more sensitive towards heat and that farmers preferred cattle. Respondents indicated being somewhat aware of evidence dispelling perceptions around the breed and indicated that the research is valuable to an extent. It was concluded that the Drakensberger is not reaching its potential in the region due to the black colour of the breed and due to a lack of quality information of the breed. It is recommended that a focused information and promotion campaign be launched in order to improve the image of the breed and to increase market share.
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